Same world series, new blood

By Chris Shaw, Evergreen columnist

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Fewer than 30 days remain in the 2013 Major League Baseball season.

That means two things: October is right around the corner, and the World Series trophy is once again up for grabs.

The defending champion, the San Francisco Giants, is not in the picture, but a team from the Giants’ division has risen to replace them.

An American League team from across the country has made itself known as well, creating a potential matchup for the ages in this year’s World Series.

The Los Angeles Dodgers sit atop the National League West with a comfortable lead above the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers also rattled off a 42-8 stretch this season behind the rejuvenating presence of Yasiel Puig, a rookie phenom from Cuba who lights up the statistics sheet almost every night and brings energy to the field.

The Dodgers 42-8 record ties the 1941 Yankees and the 1942 Cardinals for the third best all-time record during a 50 game stretch, according to baseballnation.com.

The Dodgers, who hold the second-best record in the National League, will not go unopposed in their quest for their first World Series title since 1988.

The boys from Beantown might have something to say about the Dodgers winning it all, and with any sort of justice, the two teams will meet at the World Series to settle the score on the field.

Former Boston pitcher Pedro Martinez has said plenty regarding the resemblance between this year’s squad and the 2004 version of the team.

“The two teams are very similar in that aspect. Everybody’s loose, everybody’s going along together, everybody’s minding their own business at the time they have to,” Martinez said on boston.redsox.mlb.com. “A very, very professional team. That’s what you’re seeing out there. Everyone out there is trying to look as professional as the can, and they’re trying to do it the right way.”

This year’s team has done the right things off the field this year as well, which was something that last year’s team struggled to do, Martinez said.

Perhaps a more intriguing similarity is the way in which the Red Sox have come together this season. Players such as Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes and Dustin Pedroia have sported beards that rival those of lumberjacks. In 2004, the team’s players had similar chemistry when Martinez, Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon all had different hair styles that caught plenty of attention.

This Red Sox team is loose indeed, and yet they continue to win games. They have the best record in the American League. They have shown they can win in style with walk-offs and comeback victories. According to mlb.com, they lead the league with over 750 runs scored, meaning they can score on any given night. They rank in the middle of the pack in ERA, but have been without star Clay Buchholz, who returned Tuesday and improved to 10-0 on the season and lowered his personal ERA to 1.61.

The Dodgers could stifle the Red Sox with electric pitching of their own. Los Angeles ranks in the top 10 in ERA, strikeouts, WHIP, and opponent’s batting average, according to mlb.com.

A World Series matchup between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers seems inevitable at this point. These are two classic baseball teams with illustrious histories filled with success and failure. These are two of the best teams in the major leagues that have stood out all year for one reason or another.

As for a winner, who knows? However, one thing is clear: the show these two teams would put on in October could easily go down as one of the best the sport has ever seen.